God's Gym by John Edgar Wideman

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In God's Gym, the celebrated author John Edgar Wideman offers stories that pulse with emotional electricity. The ten pieces here explore strength, both physical and spiritual. The collection opens with a man paying tribute to the quiet fortitude of his mother, a woman who "should wear a T-shirt: God's Gym." In the stories that follow, Wideman delivers powerful riffs on family and fate, basketball and belief. His mesmerizing prose features guest appearances by cultural luminaries as diverse as the Harlem Globetrotters, Frantz Fanon, Thelonious Monk, and Marilyn Monroe. As always, Wideman astounds with writing that moves from the intimate to the political, from shock to transcendence.

About John Edgar Wideman

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John Edgar Wideman is the only author to have won the PEN/Faulkner Award twice—for the novelSent for You Yesterday in 1984, and forPhiladelphia Fire in 1990. He is the recipient of numerous other awards, including the American Book Award, the MacArthur Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. His latest book, the acclaimed memoir,Hoop Roots,was published in 2001. 
Published August 10, 2006 by Mariner Books. 189 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for God's Gym

Kirkus Reviews

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And their range is often extraordinary: from a pro basketball player’s mid-game collapse to a rich remembrance of a beloved grandfather’s burial (“Who Weeps When One of Us Goes Down Blues”), or the wrenching tale (“What We Cannot Speak of We Must Pass Over in Silence”) of a middle-aged bachelor’s...

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The New York Times

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T one point in ''Sightings'' -- a haunting free-form meditation on absence, memory and coincidence that is the final story in John Edgar Wideman's ''God's Gym'' -- the narrator, mid-reverie, blurts out a truth so raw and clear it sounds like an aphorism.

Mar 20 2005 | Read Full Review of God's Gym: Stories


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Alan Cheuse reviews God's Gym, a collection of 10 stories by John Edgar Wideman that fuses stream-of-conscious writing in the style of James Joyce, with the improvisational methods of American jazz.

Feb 28 2005 | Read Full Review of God's Gym: Stories

Entertainment Weekly

John Edgar Wideman's short stories read like transcripts of slam poetry, each powerful, run-on sentence gathering steam so it seems to end in an exclamation point rather than a period.

Feb 07 2005 | Read Full Review of God's Gym: Stories


This collection of 10 short stories, Wideman's first in as many years, is a mental workout.

Feb 14 2005 | Read Full Review of God's Gym: Stories

Bookmarks Magazine

In the opening story "Weight," a son describes his dead mother’s beliefs as he carries her coffin: "My mother believes in a god whose goodness would not permit him to inflict more troubles than a person can handle.

Jan 11 2008 | Read Full Review of God's Gym: Stories